The rise in first-round prize money at the French Open has been praised by all the players, seemingly just a start as the tours look to redress the balance between grand slam revenues and prize money. However as Jamie Murray, brother of Andy and a fine doubles player in his own right, pointed out, the better reparations may be convincing some players to go on court when they are not fully fit to do so.
The withdrawals of Feliciano Lopez and Frank Dancevic, both of whom only lasted a few games, ensured they got their 18,000 euros of prize money but denied the lucky losers waiting in the wings a chance many will say they deserved. Lopez said he pulled a stomach muscle in training last Thursday and could not even hit over the weekend but obviously thought playing – and taking the money – was the best thing for him to do, rather than let a loser from the final round of qualifying have an opportunity.
It’s not a cut and dried issue – first-round players who are there by right have earned their place due to their performances over the previous year and doubtless feel they deserve the money. Sympathy is easier for Dancevic, whose career earnings stand at $1.228 million over a decade-long career but the far-higher profile Lopez has earned $6.7 million in his career, so he could surely have gone without. However, according to the Spanish press, Lopez was chasing a place in the Olympics – something he described as a dream – so perhaps he’s excused.
So now we know (if we really wanted to). Serena Williams may have sworn off having a love life for now but the French sports paper, L’Equipe, has a scoop, of sorts. As sports fans will know, l’Equipe is a great publication, with superb access to its own sportsmen and women, in particular. Serena, of course, is a law unto herself so when they asked the American about her (reported) comments that she would like to be a man, she said: “I never said I wanted to be a man. If I were a man, I’d be gay. Well, isn’t that interesting. No? How about: “I like shopping and buying tight-fitting clothes”. Fascinating.
The Twitter-sphere as a strange world. On the one hand it can be pathetically inane, self-indulgent and irritating; on the other, for journalists it can be an invaluable tool for news, with many stories breaking there before it hits the official channels. The best users of Twitter, though, are the tongue- firmly-in-cheek spoof tweeters, from the likes of @TheOnion to @TheFakeESPN.
In the tennis world, few are better than Not Roger Federer, which can be found at @pseudofed. Playing heavily on Federer’s occasional talent for talking about how good he is (Humble tennis player. Married to Mirky. Everybody says the best ever and I like to agree), Not Roger Federer is frankly hilarious. What adds to the genius is that no one seems to know who does it. Perhaps that’s best, even if I would love to think it was Federer himself. There’s also @pseudomirky, which is a spoof of Federer’s wife, Mirka, claiming she is a closet Rafa Nadal fan.